ATM skimmers are stealthier than ever

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Tech-savy cyber criminals are apparently cannibalizing components from audio players and spy cams to fashion a new generation of stealthy, effective ATM skimmers.

Indeed, according to a report by the European ATM Security Team (EAST) quoted by Krebs, the devices are surreptitiously attached to cash machines where they clandestinely siphon card and PIN data.

To be sure, 11 of 16 European countries (covered in the report) have experienced a significant increase in skimming attacks, with a new class of analog skimmer devices positively identified in at least 5 states. 


So, how does the dark art of ATM skimming work?

Well, the audio skimming device is inserted on a piece of plastic that first over the ATM card reader’s "throat."

Meanwhile, a separate micro camera embedded in the plastic records and steals the victim’s PIN.

"The use of audio technology to record data stored on the magnetic stripe on the backs of all credit and debit cards has been well understood for many years," explained security expert Brian Krebs.

"The basic method for conducting these attacks was mentioned in a 1992 edition of the hacker e-zine Phrack.

"Since then, other electronics enthusiasts have blogged [extensively] about their experiments with sound skimmers."